The 24-year-old – who competes under the name ‘Billy Cherokee’ – beat French rival Luc Fournier by 0.018 seconds across the 8.20-kilometre gravel stage.
Aroca’s time of 4m36.208s was unbeatable for the tricky test, but the competition was close with the first seven racers covered by just nine-tenths of a second.
‘Billy Cherokee’ found the perfect blend of controlled commitment to guide a M-Sport Fiesta Rally3 across a gravel stage which started with a tight, twisty and technical section before opening out onto a wider road with plenty of top-gear action.
Each gamer is permitted up to 100 reconnaissance runs at the stage before they drive it five times, with the best of those times recorded. Through his pre-event recce, Aroca familiarised himself with every cut and every corner where he could carry more speed to let the car run wide at the exit
Delighted with the result, he said: “It’s fantastic to win the first #RallyAtHome Challenge. The competition was tough, but I was happy with my time through the stage. I have been sim racing for 10 years. I got more serious when a friend gave me a Thrustmaster wheel, but he didn’t have the clamp for the desk. I used to tell some other friends: You have to come over and see this amazing thing at my house… When they came, I would ask them to hold the wheel on the desk while I drove!”
“I love motor sport and I love technology, so #RallyAtHome is perfect for me. Now I’m really looking forward to the next stage and seeing how the competition is coming in the next eleven [#RallyAtHome] Challenges.”
Success moves Aroca forward to the Continental Finals, where his virtual world turns real as he gets behind the wheel of a LifeLive TN5 Cross Car to demonstrate his ability. He will compete for one of seven places on the 2022 Training Season, a programme which includes comprehensive training and six rallies in an M-Sport Fiesta Rally3.
FIA Category Manager for Regional Rally Jérôme Roussel is pleased with the response to the opening #RallyAtHome Challenge: “Congratulations to Alejandro or to ‘Billy Cherokee’ as he is known to his fans and fellow competitors. He made some history by winning the first #RallyAtHome Challenge, which is nice for him. We were really impressed with the speed and accuracy he showed with the car. He made a very good recce and he knew precisely where he could and where he wanted to place the car on the road. It’s really exciting to have the #RallyAtHome Challenges up and running. Now we run straight into the next one and have 11 more before August.”
#RallyAtHome is the online challenge element of the FIA Rally Star. Organised and co-ordinated by the FIA and WRC 9, there’s a new #RallyAtHome starting every two weeks. While the competitors will always drive an M-Sport-built Rally Star-liveried Fiesta Rally3 on Pirelli tyres, the stage and the weather conditions they will compete in will be decided by the FIA and WRC 9 and kept secret until the challenge commences.
Open to all 17 to 26-year-olds, #RallyAtHome Challenge requires competitors to create a free account on fiarallystar.com then purchase FIA Rally Star WRC 9 DLC for €9.99. The choice of how to play the game at home (computer or console) is up to the individual gamer.
#RallyAtHome Challenge 2 will begin at 00:00 CET on March 13 and run until 23:59 on March 18.
FIA Rally Star is providing a series of tutorials, including Swedish driver Klara Anderson, or Rally driver and co-driver Sean Johnston and Alex Kuhirani offering guidance for the Challenges.